First Edition Cycling News for August 31, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson & Jeff Jones
Vuelta Stage 4 wrap-up: Two from two for Ale-Jet
McGee looking good in gold
By Anthony Tan
For the second time in as many days, Fassa Bortolo super-sprinter Alessandro Petacchi and his team were head and shoulders above the rest, delivering yet another perfect result in Argamasilla de Alba. Tour de France maillot vert winner Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) came closer than anyone to the untouchable Ale-Jet, placing second, while Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) showed his consistency by taking the remaining podium place. Race leader Bradley McGee looks set to continue his spell in the golden tunic at least until Stage 6 on Thursday, which finishes atop the first category climb of Valdelinares.
"Today, after 233 kilometres, I made the best sprint and am satisfied," said a delighted Petacchi.
"However, to complicate things, a rider became part of our train in front of [Marco] Velo and we thought he wanted to do his job in the sprint. Instead, when [Alberto] Ongarato moved [over], he also moved, leaving too big a gap. At that point, Velo had to leave [the train] early and clearly decreased our speed in the end because he was tired."
Asked about his status as one of the favourites for the world road championships in Madrid, Petacchi said: "As far as the World's go, I will only say I have won two stages of the Vuelta and that the race on the 25th of September will be a long one and difficult to control. At the moment, I lack a little power and I hope that this Vuelta helps me to find it."
The longest stage of the 2005 Vuelta was characterised by an early breakaway of four riders, instigated by Leon Van Bon (Davitamon-Lotto) after just three kilometres and soon joined by Christophe Edaleine (Cofidis), Frédéric Finot (Française des Jeux) and Sébastien Joly (Crédit Agricole). The quartet's lead reached a maximum 12 minutes at the 87 kilometre mark, before the sprinters' teams of Fassa Bortolo, T-Mobile, Domina Vacanze and Quick.Step came to fore, and steadily chipped away at their lead until it was peloton groupé 100 kilometres later.
Although a few more tried their luck in the finale, the inexorable pace of the peloton led to the inevitable bunch sprint, and with four Fassas at the front with two kilometres to go, Alessandro Petacchi was once again granted an armchair ride to the finish line - and didn't let the Silver side down.
Gutierrez battles on despite cracked rib
By Hernan Alvarez Macias
Phonak rider Jose Enrique Gutierrez finished with the main field in yesterday's fourth stage of the Vuelta a Espana - though admittedly at the very back of the bunch - despite nursing a broken rib after falling during both Sunday's and Monday's stages.
Gutierrez lost time particularly in the Sunday crash, finding himself in 111th place after stage three. Team director Juan Fernandez told Spanish TV during stage four, "Yesterday we went to the hospital in Ciudad Real and they said to us that he had a little fracture. He will stay in the peloton and try and survive with the typical pain of a long large and hot stage. He should survive this day, this is the toughest day."
Referring to Phonak, Fernandez said there's no clear team leader. "There are two important points inside the race, Valdelinares and Lloret de Mar," he said. "After Valdelinares and Lloret de Mar we will see if [Floyd] Landis, Oscar [Pereiro] or Santos Gonzalez, whom we also trust in, becomes the leader."
Nuyens takes opening stage in Britain; hopes for world's berth
Quick Step-Innergetic rider Nick Nuyens won the opening stage of the Tour of Britain from Glasgow to Castle Douglas yesterday, beating Michael Blaudzun (CSC Team) and Jeremy Hunt (Mr Bookmaker-Sports Tech team) at the final sprint.
"There was a strong side wind," said Nuyens of his second win of the season after Het Volk," so we decided to make our move far from the finish."
Nuyens was part of a 30+-rider breakaway that included his team-mates Davide Bramati, Michael Rogers, and Wilfried Cretskens. With such a strong presence in the break, Quick Step was able to dominate proceedings to set up the finish for Nuyens.
"Bramati and Cretskens were brilliant at keeping the pace during the flat sections and then Rogers made things difficult for our opponents during the up hill section at more or less 10 kilometres from the finish line," said Nuyens. "I knew the final sprint would be perfect for me as it was slightly in ascent. Michael helped me launch myself and put me in the perfect position to win."
With two major victories on his palmarès for this year, Nuyens is looking forward to a strong finish to the season. "I hope this is just the start of a lucky period for me just like this time last year," he aid. "I must admit, I'd love to take part in the World Championships to help Boonen."
Verbruggen nominated for UCI president again
The Dutch cycling federation (KNWU) has given its support for Hein Verbruggen as a candidate for the UCI presidency again. The election will take place in Madrid on September 23, and it's long been thought that Verbruggen would step down in favour of the UCI's supported candidate Pat McQuaid, Malaysian Darshan Singh, or Spaniard Gregorio Moreno. But at the 11th hour, the KNWU has put Verbruggen's name back in the hat for a possible fourth term.
"It's more to show that for us, he doesn't have to disappear," said KNWU president Joop Atsma to ANP. "We place a lot of value in the work that he has done. We have to present it to him formally and keep the possibility open if he decides to definitely do it."
Verbruggen is currently in South America, and after thanking the KNWU for its faith in him, said that he would make a decision later whether to accept his position as presidential candidate. "I want to stay with the UCI but in another role," he added.
Verbruggen's presence may help to stabilise the UCI elections, which have come under fire from ex-UCI management committee member Sylvia Schenk for being unfair, because of "expenses paid" to Pat McQuaid by the UCI. Schenk's view is shared by Darshan Singh, and she has taken her complaint to both the UCI and IOC ethics committees.
Backstedt to attempt motor-paced Hour Record
Magnus Backstedt has announced that he will attempt to break the current one hour derny paced record at the Newport Velodrome in Wales on Saturday October 29 2005.
The record currently stands at 66.114km and was set by Mathe Pronk in Amsterdam in 2004. Pronk was paced by Joop Ziljaard.
Backstedt is currently riding the Vuelta a Espana and aiming to recover his fitness after being forced to drop out of the Tour de France earlier this year by illness. He will then ride the world championships, then return to training on the track in preparation for the record attempt.
"I spend a lot of time over the winter on the track and this is a record that really appeals to me," said Backstedt. "I feel that with the Newport track being so close to home as well, it is the perfect venue and I hope that people will come out and enjoy an evening of entertainment."
If he cracks the motor-paced record, Backstedt may consider an attempt on the Blue Riband track cycling record, the un-paced Hour. "I was with Credit Agricole with Chris Boardman and saw him after he finished his last Hour," he said. "Let's get this one out of the way and see what happens."
Vuelta Fantasy game prize list
Just over a day left to enter
The full prize list is now available for the Cyclingnews Vuelta Fantasy Game. As well as the Grand Prize of a T-Mobile team Issue Giant TCR Advanced there is a whole pile of runner-up and daily prizes, including a complete Campagnolo Record group. You can join until stage 6 begins on Thursday, September 1 at 10:00 GMT (03:59 Eastern time). Check out the full prize list:
Grand Prize: Giant TCR Advanced T-Mobile '05 Tour De France Team Issue bicycle. Giant have confirmed that this year's grand prize for the Vuelta Fantasy game will be the same bike as Jan Ullrich and Alexandre Vinokourov! The Giant TCR Advanced T-Mobile '05 Tour De France Team Issue bicycle on offer is worth $8000 and is not currently available to the public! Exclusively to Cyclingnews, you can only get one by winning the 2005 Vuelta a Espana Fantasy Game! There are a whole load more goodies on offer to the runners up and the daily prize winners.
Runner up Prizes
Campagnolo Record Group set
21 Park Tool multi-tools for each daily prize winner
(Daily prizes are awarded to the manager with the highest cumulative Stage points. This does not include any points scored in the GC, MTN or PTS sections of the game - it is not their overall score as displayed on the homepage)
To find out more go to the prizes section of the fantasy site.
There's still time to join in this year's Fantasy Vuelta Game at Cyclingnews. There is no tactical disadvantage in joining after stage 1 has begun. You can join until stage 6 begins on Thursday, September 1 at 10:00 GMT (03:59 Eastern time). Be a professional team manager, with many opportunities to win prizes in this year's game. You will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with managers from around the world. For more info go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com.
How to play
You can begin creating your team now. You can play the first five stages for FREE! The Tour games are easy to play, all you need to do to manage your own team is select 15 riders from the live start list then select 9 of these riders to race each day throughout the Vuelta. You score points according to how well each of the riders place each day in the Vuelta. So try your team today and see if it's for you. It's a great way to follow the Vuelta. Create your teams now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)